a long time ago, when i first started working at the church, a friend gave me some of the best advice i have ever received. it was during a time when i was particularly busy, trying to fulfill all the demands of both work and ministry, and was closer to burn out than i even realized at the time.

my friend told me that when it comes to boundaries, it's all well and good to have them, but {and here it is}, no one else will every defend your own boundaries. others may respect you for having boundaries, they may even say they respect your boundaries, but since everyone is pretty busy living their own lives, the only person available to ensure that your boundaries are not infringed upon, is you.

there have been a couple of conversations i've had recently that have reminded me of this piece of wisdom... and just the remembrance of it makes me grateful, as even after all these years, i am not always a good boundary-keeper.

one area where boundaries get too often infringed upon is in the area of silence and solitude. quieting all the voices demanding our attention, even those that reside in our own heads. van gogh understood the need for silence when he wrote, "when all sounds cease, God's voice is heard under the stars."

skye jethani also brilliantly summed up our need for silence in worship in his beautiful book, the divine commodity:

"when our imaginations are jolted into contemplating our true insignificance, either by a star-filled sky or some other encounter with the transcendent, our response is always the same- silence. it is the humility any rational creature should exhibit when confronted by a power so immeasurable it defies comprehension. silence is the beginning of all worship."

i think the problem lies that in the busyness and incessant dailyness of our lives, we forget to be rational creatures.


on this same subject, i recently came across some words written by rilke,

“i hold this to be the highest task for a bond between two people: that each protects the solitude of the other.”

protecting the solitude of another. protecting someone else's boundaries...

in a world where we seldom protect our own deep-rooted need for solitude, is it even possible for people to defend the solitude of someone else?

i'd like to think it is...


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